Trisha O’Keefe

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Photos Courtesy of Trish O’Keefe

Photos by Jen Hughes

Spotlight Interview- originally published by Ocean View Press in
December 2005
Trisha O’Keefe
by Rob Watts

Rob- First of all, how are you doing?

Trisha- Quite well, thank you. I’ve been feeling a tad under the weather this week, but nothing tea and Vitamin C won’t fix.

Rob- Same here. Where are you from?

Trisha- I am from Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania. It’s a VERY small picturesque community just south of the Pocono Mountains. When people not from Pennsylvania ask, I usually say Philadelphia, because it’s an easy frame
of reference. If Philadelphians ask, I say “between Allentown and Scranton”. I’m a woman of many cities.

Rob- At what point in your life did you envision yourself as a
singer/songwriter?

Trisha- I think I’ve always been a singer-songwriter. I would always write stories and poems, I was very much a writer. And I was very much a singer. I just didn’t know until I was about 12 that I wanted to combine those things, and to make it my life’s work.

Rob- Growing up, who were you a fan of musically?

Trisha- I come from a household that was always filled with music. My parents have very contrasting tastes in music. I grew up on Heart and Led Zeppelin and Bon Jovi, but also I used to love to listen to Reba McEntire and old Patsy
Cline records. I think it helped to make me a well-rounded person musically.

Rob- So you were accepted to Berklee College of Music in 2002. You decided to put college on hold in favor of recording some more demos. That’s quite a gamble. I imagine you had a lot of confidence in your performing to make a decision like that.

Trisha- It really came down to a basic instinctual need. I wanted to be a musician. It was like an
undeniable truth for me. This was all I could ever see myself doing. So it didn’t make much sense to take the time and the money one has to devote to college, before seeing this dream of mine all the way through. I was lucky too, that my folks really believed in me. They didn’t want me to have any
regrets in life. So, it made it an easier thing to do, to know I had people backing me up. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of skepticism to go around. But it was something I felt strong about, and my mom and dad weren’t discouraging in the LEAST, so I felt it was a gamble worth taking.

Rob- And those demos actually evolved into a full length album, so it paid off in a sense.

Trisha- Absolutely! I got to do the one thing that had eluded me with previous projects: I now had music I could share with my audience. Something to promote at shows. Something people could take home with them.

Rob- Any plans to return to School in the future?

Trisha- People ask me this alot. I’m not knocking college at all. I think it’s an important life step to take, and I think it’s an important institution for a quality career. I would like to go one day. I’ve always said, if at any point my career stops moving forward, if it were to peak before “making
it”, then yes, school is on my mind. …But I’d want to go for something totally atypical of what my musical background suggests, like Medieval History or Quantum Physics.

Rob- You said that you have been a singer/songwriter since the age of 12. What was the first song you ever wrote?

Trisha- You’re trying to bust out the skeletons in my closet! Okay, if you really want to know, one of the first songs I wrote was called… “Disco Man”. But you didn’t hear that from me.

Rob- Where and when was that first time you performed in public?

Trisha- Hmmm…One of my favorite performances was when my mother and I went to church one Sunday morning. I was three years old. During one of the songs, my mother asked me if I wanted to share her hymnal with her. I was being a
pest and said no. But as the song ended, I wanted to be a part of it. When they were finished singing…well, rumor has it that I started screaming “I WANT TO SING!!!” MANY, MANY times at the top of my lungs. My mother had
to carry me out of the church, and at one point she had to literally PEEL my fingers off of the doorway. That wasn’t really a performance. But it makes for a good story.

Rob- Where is your favorite place to perform in Pennsylvania?

Trisha- This is tough, because I don’t want any of my favorite venues to feel left out. But I have to say World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. That place has become like a second home to me. The atmosphere is great, the food is
great, the people are great. I always feel right at home, and I think when I take the stage, it shows in my performance. I’m just really comfortable there.

Rob- Do you come from a musically gifted family, or are you the musical prodigy in the family?

Trisha- I don’t know if I’d call myself a PRODIGY, but if you want to…
No one in my family is a career musician, but my mom and grandmother play piano, and both of my parents have amazing voices. My mom was in a rock band in high school, my dad should have been. I still hold out hope that he’ll join like, a really great classic rock cover band. I remember growing up, my grandmothers would always sing to me. I think my passion
for music came to me on my own, but my combined gifts, I definitely owe alot of the credit to coming from great genes.

Rob- – Being a female musician must come with it’s own set of drawbacks, especially in what seems to be a male dominated industry. You are doing very well so far with a CD, positive reviews, constant gigs, an impressive fanbase, etc.. What is your secret to success?

Trisha- I wish I knew! For me it’s all about remaining positive, having alot of faith, and always striving to beat your personal best. It IS a heavily male-dominated market, both in musical competition and the people you need to link up with on the business side. For me, I’ve sought out strong women
to surround myself with, and it’s so refreshing to have those friendships without that element of quote unquote cattiness. I think it’s important to be incredibly self-sufficient, you can stand on your own and make things happen, plus you won’t get duped or swindled as easily. Be knowledgeable
in the field, and in your craft. But also, it’s important to build
business relationships with quality individuals. Be nice to everyone, because you never know who might know who. All of that has worked for me so far.

Rob- Are you recording new music now?

Trisha- I am, as a matter of fact! I’m currently recording my second solo album, which will be slated for release in 2006. If people want to know when, then definitely sign up for my newsletter. You can subscribe on my website or my MySpace.com page.

Rob- Who are some of your favorite performers today?

Trisha- There are the typical answers: I love Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Alanis Morisette, Heart, Jonatha Brooke, Fiona Apple. But I also love Def Leppard, Audioslave, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Foo Fighters,
Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Travis. I’ve also really been into alot of my musician friends’ records lately. There’s something very cool about being friends with people whose music you admire. As far as what’s on the radio currently, I’m not a happy camper.

Rob- Do you play any other instruments besides the guitar?

Trisha- I play alot of instruments, but there are so many I’d love to learn! I play piano, drums, bass, clarinet, flute, and mandolin. But I would love to learn violin or cello, upright bass, harp, saxophone, steel guitar, banjo, harmonica. And I’d love to be incredibly proficient on all of them. A musical wiz!

Rob- Where would you like to see yourself in five years?

Trisha- Hmm…I guess I should start with happy. I would definitely like to be happy, no matter what I’m doing. I’d say “wealthy”, but I don’t want to seem greedy. I’d like to feel accomplished, like I’ve continued to move forward in the natural progression my career should have taken in a 5-year
span. I’d like to be touring, with a band, that I can PAY, working my way up the ladder. I’d like my audience to grow, I’d like to have a great crowd in any city I go to, I’d love more people to know me and love the music I’m sharing. And I’d like to be writing some really killer material. And a tour bus, so my puppy Jake could come on the road with me.

Rob- Did you enjoy our interview?

TRisha- I loved it! These were some great questions. I really felt like the reader has learned more about me than just like, my favorite color. …Which is pink, in case anyone is curious.

Rob- Do you have any final words for the reader, or anything to promote before we wrap up?

Trisha- Sign up for the mailing list! You’ll know all about what goes on with me each month. It’s probably the best promotional tool I have right now to reach my fans.

Rob- Best of luck Trisha, and we’re looking forward to seeing you live in Boston soon.

Trisha- Me too! Boston is SUCH a great city! I can’t wait!

Rob- Thanks Trisha

Photos Courtesy of Trisha O’Keefe

Photo by Jen Hughes

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